Supersonic Business Jet Enters New Design Phase

Aerion, the Reno, Nevada-based company formed to develop a supersonic business jet, reports it has entered the "proof of concept" design phase. Aerion has targeted 2014 for certification of its Mach-busting bizjet, which is expected to have a maximum speed of 1.6 times the speed of sound. Aerion, led by vice chairman and veteran business aviation executive Brian Barents, is also in ongoing discussions with "well-known aviation companies" in search of a lead manufacturer for the program. In this next development phase, Aerion intends to define systems, confirm weights and further validate performance projections. To help further the latest design phase, Aerion announced it has hired former Bombardier Executive Vice President John Holding as a special advisor. At the European Transonic Wind Tunnel in Germany, Aerion confirmed supersonic natural laminar flow under conditions simulating flight at 45,000 feet. Aerion reports it holds orders for 50 of the $80 million jets, each secured by a $250,000 deposit.